Buying an original Escher artwork can be a tough decision.  Some people are limited by their budget, and others just don’t know where to start.

    In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to worry about the cost of things, but until the next dot.com boom, we’re stuck with reality.  I regularly get emails that start off with “what woodcuts do you have that are less than ____ dollars?” 

    Most of us want to own the most famous pieces, myself included.  And everyone wants to know what an artwork is worth.  The range is from hundreds dollars to well over a hundred thousand dollars.  Condition is a huge factor in price, so is rarity and desirability.

    The great thing about collecting Escher artwork is that there are smaller, lesser known pieces.  These prints tend to be less expensive, but still contain the classic elements of the Escher artworks we all know and love.

    The first Escher print I ever purchased was Fish and Frogs (top right). I still own that print, and I continue to marvel at its simplicity and beauty.  At only a few inches in length, it embodies what I admire in any Escher print.  (A mere two weeks later I purchased Sky and Water - hopelessly hooked).

    So where to start?

    Before I created this site, I imagined that everyone was like me.  I assumed that everyone would want a tessellation print as their first print.  I was wrong. 

    My best advice is get what speaks to you.  Artwork is an intensely personal purchase, and if your only interest in buying is bragging rights you’ll never give the artwork the hours of scrutiny and admiration that it deserves.  

    Some people buy prints because they “speak” directly to them.  The Emblemata book has a variety of different objects that can be used to represent people’s passions and professions.  Not everyone drives a steamroller, but plenty of people play guitar (Lute) or fly a kite.  People have made associations from prints in ways I never imagined.  One person saw Signpost as a crossroads - a perfect gift for a college graduate.

    Other collectors prefer to own the “precursor prints”.  Some woodcuts are clearly the early inspiration for later prints.  One obvious example is Fulfillment from Flor De Pascua.  Escher crafted this woodcut 42 years before making Fishes and Waves.  The Night Picnic from Scholastica has creatures crowded together like future mosaic and tessellation prints. 

    Lastly, some prints simply impress and inspire.  Still life artworks have been admired for centuries - and Escher created a number of them.  In some cases they are not-so-still-life such as the Scarabs and Grasshopper.  Other prints tell a story in themselves.  One such print is the Owl Scene from Scholastica.  The woodcut demonstrates an interplay of light and shadows that proves Escher’s technical prowess.  The scene itself is the meeting of creatures on a moonlit night.  Clearly a spooky story is unfolding - in the days long before Tim Burton and Edward Gorey.   

    So take time, find what grabs you.  And feel free to ask questions.   


                                                                                                                                  -Salvatore

   

A few thoughts on purchasing an original Escher print.

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